•  20
    In this chapter I invite the reader to consider the philosophical assumptions which underpin the early career aims and objectives of Barrie Kosky. A focus will be his “language” of opera, and the processes by which the audience is prompted to interpret it. The result will be to see how Kosky creates mystery and meaning while avoiding fantasy and escapism; and can express psychological truth while stimulating subjective interpretations. The point will be to show that Kosky’s oeuvre demonstrates a…Read more
  •  174
    Beauty
    Oxford Encyclopedia of Literature. 2020.
    Literary beauty was once understood as intertwining sensations and ideas, and thus as providing subjective and objective reasons for literary appreciation. However, as theory and philosophy developed, the inevitable claims and counterclaims led to the view that subjective experience was not a reliable guide to literary merit. Literary theory then replaced aesthetics as did philosophy’s focus on literary truth. Along with the demise of the relevance of sensations, literary form also took a back s…Read more
  •  402
    At a time when professional art criticism is on the wane, the ancient quarrel between art and philosophy demands fresh answers. Professional art criticism provided a basis upon which to distinguish apt experiences of art from the idiosyncratic. However, currently the kind of narratives from which critics once drew are underplayed or discarded in contemporary exhibition design where the visual arts are concerned. This leaves open the possibility that art operates either as mere stimulant to priva…Read more
  •  178
    The arguments of each chapter demonstrate that there is no neutral perspective from which to analyse aesthetic qualities. Such qualities cannot be described as their very perception involves evaluation. In short, the chapters focus on those aspects of a first person perspective that can be considered inter-personal in the sense that they are susceptible of intentional calibration and enculturation. That said, not all chapters approach the theme from the same perspective nor with the same targets…Read more
  •  229
    This edited collection sets forth a new understanding of aesthetic-moral judgment organised around three key concepts: pleasure, reflection, and accountability. The overarching theme is that art is not merely a representation or expression like any other, but that it promotes shared moral understanding and helps us engage in meaning-making. This volume offers an alternative to brain-centric and realist approaches to aesthetics. It features original essays from a number of leading philosophers of…Read more
  •  335
    The standard cognitive theory of art claims that art can be insightful while maintaining that imagining is motivationally inert [Walton 1990] even when some epistemic advantage is claimed for it [Currie 1995]. However, if we assume art as art can be insightful, we also assume that the imagining it occasions has a lasting impact on belief. In this chapter, I argue that imagining of the kind occasioned by art can be held non-occurrently [Schellenberg 2013] without delusion and can motivate behavio…Read more
  •  466
    On Jane Forsey’s Critique of the Sublime
    In Lars Aagaard-Mogensen (ed.), The Possibility of the Sublime: Aesthetic Exchanges, Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 81-91. 2017.
    The sublime is an aspect of experience that has attracted a great deal of scholarship, not only for scholarly reasons but because it connotes aspects of experience not exhausted by what Descartes once called clear distinct perception. That is, the sublime is an experience of the world which involves us in orientating ourselves within it, and this orientation, our human orientation, elevates us in comparison to the non-human world according to traditional accounts of the sublime. The sublime tell…Read more
  •  216
    The Space of Reception: Framing Autonomy and Collaboration
    with Carol A. Gilchrist
    In Brad Buckley & John Conomos (eds.), Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics, Libri Publishing. pp. 201-212. 2017.
    In this paper we analyse the ideas implicit in the style of exhibition favoured by contemporary galleries and museums, and argue that unless the audience is empowered to ascribe meaning and significance to artwork through critical dialogue, the power not only of the audience is undermined but also of art. We argue that galleries and museums preside over an experience economy devoid of art, unless (i) indeterminacy is understood, (ii) the critical rather than coercive nature of art is facilitat…Read more
  •  760
    Between Philosophy and Art
    with Elizabeth B. Coleman, David Macarthur, James Phillips, and Daniel von Sturmer
    Australasian Journal of Popular Culture 5 (2/3): 135-150. 2016.
    Similarity and difference, patterns of variation, consistency and coherence: these are the reference points of the philosopher. Understanding experience, exploring ideas through particular instantiations, novel and innovative thinking: these are the reference points of the artist. However, at certain points in the proceedings of our Symposium titled, Next to Nothing: Art as Performance, this characterisation of philosopher and artist respectively might have been construed the other way around. …Read more
  •  168
    From Kantianism to aesthetic hedonism: aesthetic pleasure revised
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (1): 1-5. 2017.
    No matter how unintuitive it might seem that aesthetic pleasure should be the point where art and morality meet, this is a noteworthy possibility that has been overshadowed by aestheticians’ more visible concerns. Here I briefly survey relevant strands in the literature over the past century, before introducing themes covered in this inaugural issue of Australasian Philosophical Review.
  •  90
    Review of David E. Cooper Aesthetics: The Classic Readings (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (1): 119-120. 1999.
    The authors included in this anthology of historical texts on aesthetics and philosophy of art, address the big questions. They attempt to place art within experience generally or within the life of a community; or they attempt to understand the nature of the aesthetic and its role within experience. Topics include mimesis, the relation between art and truth, the metaphysics of beauty, the function of art, and the ontology of art. All of the extracts included were written prior to the middle …Read more
  •  145
    Commentary on Zeki Inner Vision (review)
    Leonardo Reviews On-Line. 2000.
    The late vision theorist David Marr identified three levels of explanation that he argued needed to be addressed in order to understand vision : (i) the psychological, functional or computational level of processes; (ii) the physical or neurological which is the level of explanation employed by Zeki; and (iii) the algorithmic – the level of implementation. For Zeki’s purpose of drawing upon vision-theory in order to better understand art and aesthetics, there is no need to focus on the third le…Read more
  •  134
    Review of Kirwan Beauty (review)
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 59 (3): 334-336. 2001.
    Kirwan identifies three kinds of beauty theory within the Western tradition. These are: ‘in the eye of the beholder’ theories; neoplatonic theories; and what he refers to as synaesthetic theories; which he discusses in chapters 2, 3 and 4 respectively. He places himself within the synaesthetic tradition whose emphasis is apparently on the interaction between the beautiful object and the perceiver. Kirwan, however, does not analyse this interaction. Nor does he concern himself with what makes…Read more
  •  83
    Review of Elkins Our Beautiful Dry and Distant Texts: Art History as Writing (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (1): 142-143. 2001.
    In order to say what one means, and be understood, one needs to know to whom one wishes to communicate, the particular mindset one addresses. Expressing oneself clearly and naturally requires some art. Style, then, is an important component of the message received, or so it is in art history writing according to James Elkins. He attempts to demonstrate that what constitutes art history writing is consequently unanalysable; that art history under analysis becomes something else. ‘The glare of log…Read more
  •  358
    Review of Paul Crowther The Kantian Aesthetic (review)
    British Journal of Aesthetics 51 (2): 229-231. 2011.
    Paul Crowther provides interpretations of key concepts in Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgment, indicating (particularly in very informative footnotes) how his views compare with those of other Kant commentators such as Paul Guyer, Rachel Zuckert, Béatrice Longuenesse, Henry Allison, Donald Crawford, Robert Wicks and others. One might be inclined to ask whether yet another interpretation of Kant’s third critique was needed, yet compared to his other two critiques, Kant’s Critique of Judgment c…Read more
  •  103
    The Possibility of Objectivity in Aesthetic Evaluation in the Visual Arts
    Dissertation, The University of Melbourne. 1990.
    In order to establish a rational framework within which to discuss aesthetic matters, I attempt to find grounds to support the notion that objectivity in aesthetic evaluation is possible, within the visual arts. I begin by exploring the possibility that the foundations of our aesthetic response are innate, because, if this is the case, it would indicate that aesthetic considerations have a common basis within us all, rather than belonging to a purely personal and subjective realm. In Part One, i…Read more
  •  105
    Aesthetics, Cognition, and Creativity
    Dissertation, Australian National University. 1996.
    This thesis constructs an Interactive Theory of Beauty to change the way we think about beauty and aesthetic form, in order to resolve the conceptual discrepancies between the features that characterize the traditional concept of beauty and the features of the phenomenology of beauty. The assumptions that underlie these discrepancies are identified. I hypothesize an alternative assumption that would need to be the case to resolve the tensions between the traditional concept and the phenomenology…Read more
  •  192
    The key concept in Kant’s aesthetics is “aesthetic reflective judgment,” a critique of which is found in Part 1 of the Critique of the Power of Judgment (1790). It is a critique inasmuch as Kant unravels previous assumptions regarding aesthetic perception. For Kant, the comparative edge of a “judgment” implicates communicability, which in turn gives it a public face; yet “reflection” points to autonomy, and the “aesthetic” shifts the emphasis away from objective properties to the subjective resp…Read more
  •  417
    In _Aesthetics and Material Beauty_, Jennifer A. McMahon develops a new aesthetic theory she terms Critical Aesthetic Realism - taking Kantian aesthetics as a starting point and drawing upon contemporary theories of mind from philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science. The creative process does not proceed by a set of rules. Yet the fact that its objects can be understood or appreciated by others suggests that the creative process is constrained by principles to which others have access. Acco…Read more
  •  116
    The perceptual constraints on pictorial realism
    Contemporary Aesthetics 4. 2007.
    I argue in this paper that our concept of pictorial realism should include a reference to perceptual proficiency relative to a cultural context. I argue this by demonstrating the greater explanatory power of such a concept for understanding pictorial realism. The central idea is that gestalt-like mechanisms that are normally involved in object recognition can be deployed at a second order level in picture perception. Styles of picturing that exploit this second order gestalt-like mechanism ar…Read more
  •  123
    Symposium on pictorial realism : Introduction
    Contemporary Aesthetics 4. 2007.
    The participants in this Symposium gathered for a two-day conference on Pictorial Realism at the University of Adelaide. Our aim was to analyse the notion of pictorial realism with a view to its relevance for the way in which art history is conceived and appreciated. Specifically, we examined the extent to which the representational content of artworks can be ascertained independently of preconceived theoretical knowledge about the representational system within which the artwork is made. Pape…Read more
  •  187
    Deflating metaphors and emerging contexts: Messing with your mind in a material world
    In Natasha Bullock & Alexie Glass-Kantor (eds.), Adelaide Biennial 2012 Catalogue, Parallel Collisions, Art Gallery of South Australia. pp. 194-98. 2013.
    A discussion of the way the visual artists represented in Adelaide’s 2012 Biennale draw attention to new conceptions of place, time and self which highlight the contingent nature of the narratives that underlie our day to day existence. Disenchantment or re-enchantment are increasingly redundant conceptions. Such narratives are always fluid. Among the ebbs and flows, new conceptions emerge, providing in effect new ways of being in the world, and in turn prompting a reshuffling of what we thou…Read more
  •  211
    Aesthetics is the grammar of desire
    Aesthetic Investigations 1 (1): 156-164. 2015.
    This essay presents the nature of aesthetic judgment, the significance of aesthetic judgment and finally, the relevance of art to understanding aesthetic judgment.
  •  2038
    Aesthetic Autonomy and Praxis: Art and Language in Adorno and Habermas
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (2). 2011.
    Abstract Aesthetic autonomy has been given a variety of interpretations, which in many cases involve a number of claims. Key among them are: (i) art eludes conventional conceptual frameworks and their inherent incompatibility with invention and creativity; and (ii) art can communicate aspects of experience too fine?grained for discursive language. To accommodate such claims one can adopt either a convention?based account or a natural?kind account. A natural?kind theory can explain the first but …Read more
  •  116
    The sense of community in Cavell's conception of aesthetic and moral judgment
    Conversations: The Journal of Cavellian Studies 2 35-53. 2014.
    Cavell’s interest in aesthetic objects can be understood to be motivated by an interest in the nature of meaning and value. The idea is that perceptual objects considered as cultural artefacts under-determine the meaning and value attributed to them. The process involved in determining their meaning and value is essentially a creative one. Through his study of film, literature and music, Cavell could be said to indirectly address the axiomatic, or what is sometimes referred to as the bedrock, of…Read more
  •  426
    The Classical Trinity and Kant's Aesthetic Formalism
    Critical Horizons 11 (3): 419-441. 2010.
    I identify two mutually exclusive notions of formalism in Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: a thin concept of aesthetic formalism and a thick concept of aesthetic formalism. Arguably there is textual support for both concepts in Kant’s third critique. I offer interpretations of three key elements in the Critique of Aesthetic Judgement which support a thick formalism. The three key elements are: Harmony of the Faculties, Aesthetic Ideas and Sensus Communis. I interpret these concepts in rel…Read more
  •  619
    Perceptual principles as the basis for genuine judgments of beauty
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (8-9): 8-9. 2000.
    This paper comments on an article by V.S. Ramachandran and William Hirstein (JCS,1999) in which they purport to be identifying the neurological principles of beauty. I draw attention to the way the problem of beauty is construed in the philosophical literature by Mary Mothersill (1984) and Immanuel Kant (Critique of Judgment). I argue that Ramachandran and Hirsteins' principles do not address the problem of beauty because they do not differentiate between the experience of beauty and other close…Read more
  •  617
    Beauty as harmony of the soul: the aesthetic of the Stoics
    In Marietta Rosetto, Michael Tsianikas, George Couvalis & Maria Palaktsoglou (eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Conference of Greek Studies 2009, Flinders University. pp. 33-42. 2012.
    Aesthetics is not an area to which the Stoics are normally understood to have contributed. I adopt a broad description of the purview of Aesthetics according to which Aesthetics pertains to the study of those preferences and values that ground what is considered worthy of attention. According to this approach, we find that the Stoics exhibit an Aesthetic that reveals a direct line of development between Plato, the Stoics, Thomas Aquinas and the eighteenth century, specifically Kant’s aesthetics.…Read more
  •  475
    Review of Aesthetics and Rock Art (review)
    British Journal of Aesthetics 46 (2): 208-210. 2006.
    The essays collected in this volume are written by scholars from a wide range of disciplines (anthropology, archaeology, art history, philosophy and psychology). The papers ostensibly address how to evaluate rock art, but can also be read in the context of offering support for the affirmative in the debate regarding whether aesthetics is a cross-cultural discipline. Two alternative conceptions of the aesthetic provide the underlying antithesis and thesis respectively to all papers. The antit…Read more
  •  102
    The romantic spirit
    ArtLink 28 (2): 13-15. 2009.
    A central idea of Romanticism in the arts is the idea that art or the aesthetic experience of nature reveals truth or insight about the human condition and relation to nature. What kind of truth could this be and how could perceptual objects reveal it?